Dhammadasa David Branscomb

I began the study and practice of Buddhism in 1968 at the age of 21 after reading a book about the life and teachings of Chan master Hui Hai. From that moment I knew I was a Buddhist. In 1979 I began to build a home on a small piece of land passed to me by my parents. Before there was even a completed building on the property I dedicated the land and forest to the Buddha Dharma by building a small stupa of loosely stacked stones. This little stupa, which is now covered in moss, still stands beside the path that leads to the meditation hall, and to buildings beyond.

With the wish to host small meditation gatherings on the land, I started building a meditation hall (Misthaven) and a sleeping lodge (Alder Lodge.) Within a couple of years it was clear that there was interest in sitting practice and the future course of Cloud Mountain was set. Soon, this land was no longer just my home, but was a center for meditation and study. I worked in construction within the local community for several years to fund the center development. Finally, in 1988 with interest growing in meditation retreats I started spending all my time working on further development of the center infrastructure along with organizing, often cooking for and hosting retreats.

I spent the next 30 years working to support the Dharma by living and working at Cloud Mountain while engaging in my own meditation and study. I retired from the Director's position in 2012 which has given me time to attend retreats, to travel and to relax at home. Laura and I now live in the home we built just 8 miles off site from the center. I still occasionally help out at the center and am currently on the Board of Directors for Friends of Cloud Mountain.